The global tobacco industry is using “manipulative” tactics to “aggressively” target and hook youth on smoking across the globe, warns the World Health Organization, which is calling for a ban on the sale of tobacco and nicotine-related products to minors, Report informs referring to the Global News.

Globally, an estimated 37 million children aged 13 to 15 years use tobacco, the WHO said in a report released on May 23, which laid out how the tobacco and nicotine industry lures young people, who become addicted for life.

The report, which was released ahead of World No Tobacco Day on May 31, also showed that children are using e-cigarettes at rates higher than adults in many countries.

This is a “disturbing trend,” Ruediger Krech, the WHO’s director of health promotion, said at a news conference Thursday.

“Every year, millions of young people fall victim to the tobacco industry’s manipulative tactics,” he said, adding that most lifetime users of tobacco or nicotine start before the age of 21.

“The industry is exploiting digital and social media delivery apps and other innovative ways to reach our children. At the same time, they are continuing with old tricks such as giving away free samples to recruit a new generation as customers.”

Among the range of tactics being used to attract young people to tobacco use are child-friendly flavours, colourful packaging featuring cartoon characters and e-cigarettes designed to resemble toys, the WHO reported.

The flood of thousands of such fruity and candy flavours also makes it challenging for national regulatory authorities to regulate them, Krech said.

In addition, the tobacco industry markets and sells these products near schools and sponsors youth-oriented events, the WHO said.